Covid-19: Should We Worry About the Re-incarceration of Millions of Residents in China Because of Omicron?

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China is facing a particularly large resurgence of Covid-19. The city of Shenzhen (17 million inhabitants) has forced its inhabitants into isolation. Is this a bad omen for France? The Midi broadcast Make the point.

China, which claimed the “zero Covid” strategy, is finally being overtaken by the Omicron variant, which is particularly contagious. According to a count done on Tuesday, March 15 by Agence France Presse, some 30 million Chinese are currently incarcerated. This is the worst epidemic resurgence since the first wave of 2020.

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Should the health situation in China be concerned about France, which is currently facing an epidemic rebound? Not necessarily, for several reasons.

On the epidemiological front, China claims to have registered 5,280 new cases of Covid-19 as of Tuesday, March 15. Given the 65,000 daily infections recorded in France, this data seems preposterous. Since the start of the epidemic, China has officially counted only 120,000 Covid patients (not counting asymptomatic people) in total and before, as well as 4,636 deaths. However, these figures should be viewed with caution: “Chinese statistics are the subject of question marks among many analysts,” epidemiologist and director of the Institute of Global Health at the University of Geneva, Antoine Flahault, told the news site. Atlantico

Different strategies in light of Covid-19

So why would you lock up several million people? Simply because the Omicron variant jeopardizes the “elimination strategy” adopted by China (known as “zero Covid”). In practice, the aim for the Chinese authorities is to reduce the circulation of the coronavirus to zero, by taking strict measures as soon as there are cases, while drastically controlling the outbreaks of infection (testing, detecting, isolating).

But Omicron’s infectiousness undermined this health policy. “With Omicron’s portability, it seems increasingly difficult to enforce a takedown policy […] as the borders are pierced on all sides by highly transferable sub-variants,” explains Professor Antoine Flahault, who considers the situation “unsustainable”.

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Covid-19: an increase in hospital admissions expected in the coming days by the Institut Pasteur

The French health authorities, for their part, have favored a so-called “mitigation” strategy. It is a matter of gradually arriving at a so-called “endemic” situation, of living “with” the virus and accepting its spread on the territory by checking the epidemiological indicators in hospitals. It is therefore out of the question for the time being to consider a re-confinement of the population to contain the spread of the virus in France.

However, the restrictions and isolation measures taken in China are already impacting the markets. According to the echoes, the major European stock markets fell on Tuesday, March 15. Indeed, the resurgence of the Covid-19 epidemic in China is weighing on energy and commodity prices. It is in the electronics sector that the fear is most pronounced: Foxconn, a Taiwanese company, has decided to suspend its activities in the technology pool of the city. The impact of this shutdown could be disastrous for Apple and other tech makers.